Annihilator – MTG Keywords Explained

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Annihilator is a creature-based mechanic from Rise of the Eldrazi, and appears on the titular extra-planar monsters. Written as Annihilator N, it triggers when a creature with it attacks. When the trigger resolves, the defending player must then sacrifice N permanents. If they have less than what’s required, they sacrifice everything they can.

This is brutal, and none of the remaining rules notes I have make it any nicer.

  • Since this triggers on the attack, that means the sacrificing happens before the Declare Blockers step, potentially removing blockers from the battlefield.
  • If the Annihilator creature attacks a Planeswalker, the defending player still has to sacrifice the permanents required by the trigger.
  • In a Two-Headed Giant game, the attacker chooses which of their opponents the trigger affects when they attack.
  • Lastly, multiple instances of Annihilator trigger separately, which can actually happen thanks to Eldrazi Conscription.

Obviously, this mechanic is bonkers powerful, and was in fact so demoralizing to play against that the odds of it ever coming back in a Standard-legal set are slim to none. While definitely a flavor win, accurately selling the existential threat the Eldrazi posed, flavor can’t ovveride fun. In formats where the cards are still legal, it’s rare for games to last much beyond the first swing of an Annihilator creature.

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